How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season Business Travel
Cold and Flu Season Business Travel
With IMEX America in mid-October and new Covid variants spreading rapidly, it’s important to consider how you are preparing to protect yourself and stay healthy while networking and conducting business with colleagues throughout flu and cold season.
Some healthy habits, like following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent recommendation for everyone ages 6 months and up to get updated Covid vaccines (released in mid-September), require a bit more of a commitment than others.
Here are a few ways you can prepare for the industry’s busy tradeshow season as well as your fall and winter flu-season travels.
On September 12, the CDC recommended all Americans 6 months and older receive updated Covid shots from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, with the first doses available at some locations within 48 hours of the CDC’s initial announcement, according to the CDC.
The recommendation follows the Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of two mRNA jabs designed to target an omicron subvariant as positive Covid cases increase across the U.S. heading into the fall and winter seasons.
An independent panel of CDC advisers formed a recommendation that 13 of the 14 advisors voted in favor of, and CDC Director Mandy Cohen later signed off on it. Dr. Pablo Sanchez, professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University, stated his reason for voting against the recommendation was “limited data” regarding children, infants and other populations.
The new Covid vaccine shots will be available at pharmacies, health centers and some doctors’ offices as early as Wednesday, September 13. Locations throughout the U.S. offering the new vaccine will be listed on the government’s vaccines.gov website.
Pack a To-Go Health Kit
One of the first things anyone remembers to pack before a trip is prescription medication, but besides an additional handful of ibuprofen in a Ziploc bag, most travelers often stop there.
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy during business travel is to be prepared with any medicine you may need on the road. Ibuprofen is helpful for headaches, but if you suddenly wake up with a dry mouth, too congested to breathe through your nose, you’ll be thankful for the tiny bottle of nose spray in your handy health kit!
Some helpful items to consider bringing with you the next time you travel include:
- Daily vitamins
- Cough drops
- Pain and fever medicine
- A thermometer
- Sleep aids
- Hand sanitizer
- Hydrocortisone cream
The CDC offers an online “Pack Smart” checklist with recommendations for what prescription medications, medical supplies, over-the-counter medicine, supplies to prevent illness or injury, first-aid kits and documents to consider taking with you when you travel, as well as tips for creating a Travel Health Kit.
When looking at the bigger picture, it can be easy to let the simple solutions slip your mind, but tiny tasks like cleaning your airplane seat with sanitizing wipes before takeoff and remembering to pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated are just as helpful in keeping you healthy as stocking up on vitamins.
Don’t rush during bathroom breaks between meetings and remember to wash your hands regularly, especially before and after meals, if you’ve been shaking hands or if you’ve touched things like handrails, doorknobs and elevator buttons. Making sure you get enough sleep also helps keep your immune system strong and able to fight off any illnesses by producing more infection-fighting cells, according to National Institutes of Health.
Following are some additional simple tips and tricks fellow industry professionals practice to stay healthy during business travel and while attending meetings and events.
Business Travel Health Tips From Top Meeting Profs
“I stock up on Emergen-C and take extra before an event, and I drink a lot of water on a daily basis when traveling,” said Melinda Eggenberger, vice president of events, learning and membership at Lex Mundi, a network of independent law firms. “I pack hydration supplements and have found Liquid IV to be one of the best, especially when dehydrated from flights.”
Eggenberger said she always has hand sanitizer handy and ensures she wipes down the tray table, seat, armrests and any other surface she may come in contact with on flights.
“I drink Spark by Advocare on a daily basis and take Spark Sticks with me,” she added. “This isn’t an immunity supplement but has B vitamins and caffeine for an extra burst of energy without the jitters of too much coffee. I also exercise when traveling, even if I only have 20 minutes. I love to get out for a walk, but if that isn’t possible, I have the Peloton app for a cardio, HIIT or Barre workout, and I throw resistance bands in my luggage. That way, I can exercise in my hotel room.”
Dianne Davis, event producer at TulNet Meetings and Events, said she “loves herself a Medicine Ball,” or Starbucks’ iconic cold-busting concoction made with Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea, Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea, hot water, steamed lemonade and honey.
“I swear by Emergen-C, which has vitamin C, zinc and magnesium in it,” said Diana Maccia, senior director of global accounts at HelmsBriscoe. “I take a package when I will be in a crowd or when someone around me feels under the weather. I think this has helped me build my immune system and prevent colds. When I can’t dissolve a package, I opt for Airborne, which is available as chewables.”
Maccia also said she takes advantage of salt as a natural immunity builder.
“I sit in a salt cave where you breathe salt for a certain period of time,” Maccia said. “This is an old-fashioned therapy which evolved from the salt mines in Poland where they realized that the workers were healthy and rarely got sick.”
Meetings industry veteran MaryAnne Bobrow of Bobrow Associates said it’s important to not forget the practical things available, like continuing to wear masks on airplanes and avoiding too much physical contact with other attendees.
“I was recently at a small event of no more than 20 people and by the time we got home, we were notified that someone had tested positive for Covid, and I didn’t get it,” Bobrow said. “We all hugged each other—it had been so long since we had met together. We were in close contact for many hours over two days.
“But I still carry sanitary wipes and masks in my briefcase,” Bobrow continued. “I used the wipes in my hotel rooms as well ever since a meeting in D.C. years ago where I contracted the horrible norovirus. Since then, I use wipes on door handles, desks, nightstands, tables, etc. and follow sneezing and coughing protocols. There are so many practical ways to help protect yourself.”
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